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Global Maritime Issues Monitor 2020

Global economic crisis tops concerns of maritime decision makers as climate and environmental issues stay high on the agenda despite COVID-19.

The Global Maritime Issues Monitor 2020, published by the Global Maritime Forum in partnership with Marsh and the International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI), provides insight into the top global issues facing the maritime industry in 2020 and over the next decade.

Based on a survey of maritime industry leaders and bolstered by expert commentary, the report looks at key risks in the sector in terms of likelihood, impact, and preparedness.  In addition, there is a special focus on COVID-19.

For the first time, the report lists pandemics as one of the 19 global issues. Not surprisingly, pandemics rank near the top in terms of perceived impact and near the bottom in terms of the sector’s preparedness.

But, it is not the only issue facing the maritime sector as a global economic crisis is deemed to have the greatest impact on the industry in the next ten years. As in the 2019 survey, climate and environmental issues remain a strong focus in 2020.

Impact of COVID-19

93% of respondents said a pandemic makes a global economic crisis more likely. This underscores the interdependent nature of the maritime industry and the global economy.

73% of respondents think the pandemic makes geopolitical tension more likelyParticularly, respondents anticipate escalation in the conflict between the US and China.

72% think trading patterns are more likely to change. Respondents foresee more regionalization, near-shoring, domestic production of essential goods, less dependence on China, and more.

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Top Issues in 2020

Health and Safety Risks to Seafarers a Major Concern

Many survey respondents and external commentators pointed to the physical and mental wellbeing of seafarers being overlooked during the pandemic, with many seafarers stuck on board ships, unable to join their families at home.

Environmental and Sustainability Issues Remain Top of Mind

Industry leaders seem concerned that a global economic crisis will reduce the industry’s capability — or at least make it more difficult — to make the investments needed to decarbonize.

At the same time, they feel that the pandemic will add to the pressure to make their business more sustainable and resilient.

Economic and Geopolitical Tensions Mount

A global economic crisis moved from a “likely” response in our survey to a harsh reality due to COVID-19.

Experts commented that the shipping industry faces mounting political interference in trade, alongside increased nationalism.

Digitalization Holds Promise

COVID-19 is seen as likely to accelerate digitalization: 35% of respondents said it has made the development of big data, AI, and autonomous technology more likely.

We hope you download and enjoy the
Global Maritime Issues Monitor 2020, and that it stimulates conversation in your organization about the vast challenges and opportunities currently facing the sector, as well as those on the horizon.